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Ricketts adds Kaplan to Cubs' stats analysis effort
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 6/16/2010 9:46 PM | Updated: 6/16/2010 11:50 PM

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Cubs owner Tom Ricketts put his first stamp on the baseball department with the hiring of Ari Kaplan as manager of statistical analysis.

Kaplan, whom the Cubs said did not wish to be interviewed, reports to general manager Jim Hendry. The Cubs say the hiring is an addition to the baseball operations department and does not signal a change in philosophy.

For years, the Cubs have tried to shed a reputation as being "anti-stats."

"I was joking around before: Look at all those stats we knew that Silva had," Hendry said of pitcher Carlos Silva, who was 1-3 with an 8.60 ERA with Seattle last year before turning it around with the Cubs this season so far. "It's a process. Some of the best guys statistically we've ever signed, the on-base percentage people a year or two ago, it doesn't work out always.

"It's a game that has to have a strong human element, whether it's scouting or performing. You just don't draw people up on computers and plug them in and that means they can perform at Wrigley Field in a pennant race. You just keep putting all your information together. You rely heavily on your scouts."

Hendry noted that Kaplan has done work with the Cubs in the past, doing salary arbitration analysis for former president Andy MacPhail. Kaplan has had his own Web site, ariball.com.

The Cubs say he'll research things such as upcoming six-year free agents and help scouts with improved computer programs. Hendry said he'll be a complement to Chuck Wasserstrom, the Cubs' manager of baseball information.

Draft signings: Look for pitcher Hayden Simpson, the Cubs' No. 1 draft pick out of Southern Arkansas, to be at Wrigley Field as early as this weekend as he appears close to signing.

The Cubs announced that 11 picks had agreed to terms. They include fourth-rounder Hunter Ackerman, a lefty; eighth-rounder Cameron Greathouse, a lefty; 10th-rounder Aaron Kurcz, a righty; and 11th-rounder Eric Jokisch, another lefty.

Kurcz was a teammate of catcher Bryce Harper, the No. 1 overall pick out of the College of Southern Nevada.

Rudy's all right: Cubs manager Lou Piniella stood behind hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo even as Cubs hitters have had a hard time getting into a groove this season.

"Rudy works hard," Piniella said. "He's available every day. He's out there in the batting cages in right field when we're home. They do a lot of work. Sometimes it takes awhile for a person's philosophies and ideas to sink in and work fully. I've got all the confidence in the world in Rudy that he'll help these hitters and our hitting will get better."

*Join the discussion about stats, the draft and situational hitting at our baseball blog, Chicago's Inside Pitch, at dailyherald.com.